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In meeting Xi, Obama cites N. Korea as challenge


RANCHO MIRAGE, California, June 8 (Yonhap) -- The top leaders of the United States and China met Friday, saying that they would explore ways to boost partnerships on a raft of global challenges including North Korea.

In his remarks made at the start of a two-day meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, U.S. President Barck Obama stressed the importance of a healthy economic competition between the world's two largest economies.

Obama remined that there also are other urgent issues that need to be addressed during the weekend meeting at this desert oasis in California.

"But we also have a whole range of challenges on which we have to cooperate, from a nuclear North Korea -- or North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs -- to proliferation, to issues like climate change," Obama said.

Obama also raised some other sensitive issues such as cybersecurity and human rights.

It is their first meeting since Xi became China's president in March. Both wore dark suits but with no ties, reflecting their plan to have discussions in a rather informal mood.

Obama said the U.S. is seeking an international economic order "where nations are playing by the same rules, where trade is free and fair, and where the United States and China work together to address issues like cybersecurity and the protection of intellectual property."

"In addition to the strategic concerns that we share and the economic challenges that each of our countries face, I will continue to emphasize the importance of human rights," he said.

In response, Xi said he hopes that the California meeting would chart the future of the Beijing-Washington relations and map out a blueprint for it.

He recalled a historic event in 1972 -- U.S. President Richard Nixon's groundbreaking visit to China that ended decades of estrangement between the two countries.

"And under the new environment, we need to take a close look at our bilateral relationship: What kind of China-U.S. relationship do we both want? What kind of cooperation can our two nations carry out for mutual benefit? And how can our two nations join together to promote peace and development in the world?," he said through an interpreter.

"These are things that not just the people in our two countries are watching closely, but the whole world is also watching very closely," he added.“I am confident that our meeting will achieve positive outcomes and inject fresh [inaudible] into the china-us relationship.”

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